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5. What activities do you plan to carry out?

Published: 16/04/2024
Updated: 30/04/2024

The work of charities is extremely varied. For many charities there are considerable options to think about when deciding what their activities will be. It is vital a charity’s activities help achieve its mission and are properly planned.

When we receive applications from organisations who want to become charities, there can be times when an applicant has not provided enough information. The common issues are:

  • We do not receive enough specific information about what an activity will be. For example, an applicant provides generic statements rather than examples of projects they have or will carry out.
  • The proposed activities cover too wide an area and instead should be broken down into varied activities.

Here are some of the things you need to think about when deciding on your activities:

Providing services directly

The decision regarding whether to provide services directly is a pivotal one. There are a number of considerations here, including:

  • Do the proposed trustees have the appropriate skills, certificates, and experience to deliver the activities themselves? If not, you may require qualified and experienced people to assist.
  • Do you have the facilities, equipment, licences etc. in place to deliver services directly?
  • Are there specific policies and procedures you would need, such as safeguarding or lone working?

Giving grants to people or organisations

Many organisations give out grants. This is a way they can provide public benefit, which is the second requirement of the charity test.

If your charity gives grants, you must make sure these grants advance your charity’s charitable purposes.

If you are applying to become a charity that gives grants you should try to cover all these points in your application:

  • How will you allocate the grants?
  • How will you decide who gets a grant and who doesn’t?
  • How will you make sure that the grant is only used for the purposes for which it was given?

More information about grant giving can be found here.

Charities that campaign on issues

Under Scottish charity law, your charity can campaign if:

  • it is advancing your charitable purposes
  • your governing document does not prevent the activity
  • you are not advancing a political party; and
  • you can show you are acting in the charity’s best interests.

While there are restrictions on what campaigning activities a charity can undertake, it is important to note that political campaigning in principle is not forbidden. In fact, political campaigning on particular issues can be an important way for charities to achieve their charitable purposes.

If you do intend to campaign on political issues, please read our ‘Charities and campaigning on political issues: FAQs’ so you are aware of the rules.